Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Noontootla Creek Farms was alive with sounds of laughter!

If you Google the phrase “infectious laughter”, the most common definition is: One who’s laugh is so contagious that anyone around is overwhelmed with the uncontrollable urge to laugh without cause. Right beside that definition is a photo of this guy.

I had the pleasure of fishing with Rick and Margarita from Miami, who were spending a few days in the mountains of NE Georgia and decided they wanted to give fly-fishing a try. I thought I had met some pretty serious happy-go-lucky people over the course of my life, but then I met Rick.

The slightest thing would set him off with the most jovial laughter I have heard in a long time. I found myself drumming up every joke I could think of just to hear him laugh out loud. The first fish he caught he laughed so hard in excitement that I thought I was never going to land it because I was laughing so hard. I thought he was going to laugh himself into cardiac arrest when he set the hook on a warpaint shiner and launched that poor fish about 20 feet in the air. What a day, this one will be remembered for a long time. We caught several fish today, but that was secondary to the company I had.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Weather Gods smiled on Saturday!

The weather radar looked very ominous at 5:30am on Saturday as I made sandwiches and put together lunch for the day's float trip. As daylight broke I could see the ever-darkening skies southwest of Blue Ridge. But that is all part of being a fishing guide; sometimes you live and die by the weather, you just hope for the best and take what you're given. I met my two guys for the day, who were more concerned with the fact that they were going fishing over any weather problems and were determined to make the best of it. My kind of guys!

We pushed off from the bank about 9:00am under heavy overcast skies and a falling barometer. That, coupled with the lack of people, just gave me a sneaking suspicion that this could be a good day if the weather holds. As soon as our flies started hitting the water we began to see some action. Very few “large” bugs on the water, but the surface was littered with little (size 28-32) midges. If you saw a rising fish and got a good cast in front of him he either bumped your dry or took a swing at your dropper. We caught a lot of browns today. More than I have been catching over the past few weeks. Fortunately the weather held out for us today. Chad was keeping an eye on the weather radar for us with phone in hand to warn us if things started to get sporty.

After we got back to shop he was happy to report that the huge storm coming out of Alabama had split in two and went around Blue Ridge. I must be living right! All-in-all we boated around 25-30 fish, a mixed bag of 9-12 inch browns and rainbows with a few 14-16 inch rainbows. We missed that many more. Lightning-fast strikes and small midge droppers will make you talk to yourself sometimes. There were not a lot of rising fish to site-cast to, but they were actively feeding and a good drift through fishy looking water usually resulted in a strike. Right as the water caught us a very light sprinkle of rain started to fall, but by that point we were headed to the take-out anyway. The weather Gods smiled on us today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prospecting for Rainbow Gold!

Friend and Fellow guide Brad Wayne and I decided to take a prospecting trip on Saturday last week. I have some fly patterns that I have been wanting to try. Deer season, college football and school have started which tends to thin the herd down a little bit on the river. We started later in the afternoon as both of us had been getting up early the past few mornings and neither one us felt like getting up at the crack of dawn that morning………..it happens……….even to those who are hopelessly addicted to fishing. As best we could tell, we were the only boat on the water with a few scattered fishermen wading around in spots. There were a few bugs flying around with very little surface action, but once we got past the waders, the fish started rising all around us. Started sticking rainbows left and right and just about the time I made the comment to Brad that I had not caught a brown in a while “Wham”, a lively brown trash canned my dry fly. Today was goooooooood day. I won’t mention how many fish we caught in the 5 hours we fished because folks will want to check our boat cooler to see what we’re sipping on, but I’ll just say it was on. We didn’t get to fish long because the DAWGS were kicking off at 7:30 and we both had “obligations” to attend. Fall is here and the fishing is starting to pick up as the crowds dissipate and the temperature cools down.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gone Fishin'-4-Days

The last two weeks I got the chance to spend four days with Bill Crowell, his son Pierce, and his friend Jeff. We spent one day floating the river and the other three at Noontootla Creek Farms - (It's hard to pass up Size #8 and #10 dry fly action). Fish at the farm are still looking up, some of them explode on a dry just out of nowhere, and others, it's like they are in slow motion. The ones that are so slow are the worst, as you anxiously sit and watch that big dry drift its way downstream, sometimes you can actually see those big fish start their move up from the depths. Usually about the time you think "there should be a fish right there" you will see that move, then is when the patience comes in. You have to sit, almost as if time is standing still, and wait as it approaches. Eventually, if you wait long enough, you will see that head break the surface, and your fly disappear and after what seems like a eternity, then you set the hook.

The guys caught fish on top and on the bottom, but as exciting as the dry fly takes are, the craziest thing happened nymph fishing. Mr. Crowell made a good cast to the top of a run with a big dry and had a good size fish roll at it, but no take. When all else fails get out the nymph rig, he made a cast or two back to the spot with no take. I think it was the third cast, after a short drift, the indicator twitched and he set, right away we knew it was not what we were looking for. As Mr. Crowell stripped it in, we saw that it was maybe a 6" horny head, not what had rolled at the dry. About the time the line got close enough for me to grab, things turned for the better. Suddenly, a sizeable rainbow shot up out of the hole, and after about three or four swipes (about three or four feet in front of me), it inhaled the catch. I could see just the tail of the horny head sticking out of its mouth as it dissapeared off into the hole. For about 30 - 45 seconds Mr. Crowell fought the fish all around the pool just as if it had taken the fly. When it started to calm down, and got close enough for me to see again, it still had the tail hanging out of its mouth. In pretty much the same spot as the ambush happened, the fish turned, opened its mouth and out came the horny head with the fly still hooked and the rainbow dissapeared into the hole. Not too often that you have to worry about something stealing your catch on a trout stream, but it's a blast to fish for trout that are big enough to eat like that. To sum it up, I enjoyed four days on the water, so thanks guys.